The third annual SA Professional Invitational Pigeon Race (SAPIR) final – from Richmond to the SAPIR loft complex at Randhart, east of Johannesburg, a distance of 700km – was held on 24 September. The SAPIR sees a maximum of 200 top SA fanciers invited to test their superstars against the best pigeons in the country. This year, the total guaranteed prize package was R616 000. The entry fee is R10 000 for a team of three birds.
In the Breeder’s Stakes, the entrant must indicate prior to the first of the four Hot Spots which pigeon in his team will be the preferred racer. The others stay in the training programme as reserves should the main pigeon get injured or stray. Entrants must pay a penalty of R2 500 if they use a reserve entry that does better during the pre-final events.
The pigeons are auctioned a week before the main race. The breeder, or anyone else who pays the highest price, competes in the Auction Stakes, which is a separate category. If you have enough faith in your pigeons to buy them back at the auction, you could stand a chance of winning two cash prizes.
If a punter fancier is the highest bidder – and the new owner of the team, you, as the original entrant, could still qualify for the prize money in the Breeder’s Stakes. In addition, you receive 30% of the price your team fetches. Winning bidders of a team can enter their reserve pigeons into the Auction Challenge at a fee of R5 000 per bird. The SAPIR 2013 Auction Challenge was won by Kobus 2, bred by Kobus van Wyngaardt and entered by the team of Johan & Thomas, which bought Kobus’s pigeons at the auction.
A total of 131 pigeons took part, and liberation time was 6.30am. Despite initial predictions of an easy race with a cool start and a helping wind, conditions were hot, with a headwind. The first five pigeons home were:
Thomas 1; arrival time: 16:24:08. Breeder: Thomas Smit. Buyer: Johan & Thomas.
Bart 3; 16:26:47. Breeder/ buyer: Bart Diedericks.
Kobus 2 R5K; 16:27:21. Breeder: Kobus van Wyngard. Buyer: Johan & Thomas.
Chris 2; 16:27:25. Breeder/ buyer: Chris Baker.
Louis 1; 16:31:44. Breeder: Louis Nagel. Buyer: Juan Ehlers.
The prizes for the winning pigeon were R144 375 for the breeder and R77 000 for the buyer; second-place winnings were R57 750 (breeder) and R38 500 (buyer), and third-place winnings were R34 650 (breeder) and R19 250 (buyer).
Due to the limited number of competing pigeons, the SAPIR is a real test of a breeder’s ability to assess correctly the prowess of his top pigeons. At the same time, fanciers at the auction have an opportunity to buy into the best gene pool in SA, with birds that may otherwise not have been for sale.